Sunday, 10 January 2010

Aigrette from Topkapi to Paris

Strolling along the gardens of Topkapi Saray Museum in Istanbul, going from a courtyard to another, stepping into rooms, stopping at windows of lush jewelry, relics, arms, daggers, thrones, jugs, Chinese porcelain. All treasures of the Ottoman glory.
In one of the windows, there is a sign: this item is on a traveling tour to the exhibition in Paris: "Byzance, Istanbul" at the Grands Palais. The aigrette (headdress consisting of a white egret's feather or other decoration such as a spray of gems) of the 18th century is now seen along the Seine river.
Aigrettes were used both by the Sultan and notable women of the Harem as a symbol of power. It is known that Sultans gave the valuable aigrettes as presents or as awards.
Sultans received gifts and sent over gifts to display their supremacy in a time where the 18th century British Ambassador in Istanbul wrote that "Hafize Sultan, the wife of Sultan Mustafa II, wore a string of pearls down to her knees with a diamond as big as a turkey egg and two strings of emeralds'.
Today,  in order to show glory, history and capacity to be on par, it is enough to arrange exhibitions to promote a country.
As another diplomatic ballet beyond the news, Topkapi saray hosts “Ten Thousand Years of Iran's Civilization, Two Thousand Years of Common Heritage" as a special exhibit in one of its wings.  An eye to the West and another to the eastern side. Istanbul remains an intriguing bridge across the Bosphorus

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